Congratulations to our runners!

Sunday 5 September saw 7,000 runners take on the famous ABP distance runs, consisting of a full half marathon and a 10k race. The annual event was unfortunately cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but returned for the sixth time with a lot of fanfare and buzz.

Brighterway’s determined team of 18 enthusiastic runners managed to raise a total of £2,310- a fantastic achievement!

We caught up with two of our runners, Peter McCullagh and Sam Burgess to see how they got on.

Peter McCullagh, Locality Manager for West Hampshire Community Learning Disability Team commented;

“My journey to this year’s ABP Half Marathon started in 2019 just after I completed the last run. I said at the time that was it, I have done Southampton half twice now so didn’t want to do it again. Then within a couple of days, my wife said she wanted to do it as she hadn’t completed the Southampton half, so like a fool I agreed to do it again.

Whenever running a race (in the loosest term – snail trundle is more like it!), I like to link with a charity as that gives me the motivation to actually get out there and do some training.  This year was the third time I ran for Brighterway and I believe strongly when choosing who to run for

 that I should support charities that are either local or I have an interest in.

Those who know me well cannot understand me running. At school I did everything I could to get out of PE and when I was in the army, I spent more time on remedial PT than anyone shoul ever need to! Running, and in fact general fitness regimes are alien to me, I really struggle, and so having something to aim for gives me the incentive to get on with it.

This year’s event was actually the rescheduled 2019 run and I think was probably the fifth date. I have to be honest it was a struggle, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run, I wasn’t sure if it would actually go ahead and my training took a real dive, but my wife and me decided to knuckle down. We found a training regime through our Garmin app (other brands are available  ) and that spurred us on somewhat.

I didn’t actually complete the full training for the half as we started it late and ran out of weeks, but my thought was, I’ve done a few before so I have it in me, speed isn’t what we need, getting round the course is – and we did. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but we got around the course and even managed to run over the finishing line.

I have run half Marathons in the new Forest, Gosport, Birmingham and Bath, along with a fair few 10 Km runs in various places, but I have to say Southampton, whilst a challenging route, is probably my favourite. Not only because it is the local run but the support on the day is fantastic, from arriving in the race village at the Brighterway stand (Thanks Ian, Dom and Daren), to those cheering you along the way and then the run in with people banging boards as you head to the finish line.

I did say that’s it, I’ve done it three times now, not doing it again, but…Watch this space”

Sam Burgess, Library Service Manager added;

“Sunday 5 September 2021 was the date for the much postponed Southampton ABP marathon, half marathon and 10k – all taking routes through Southampton, over the Itchen Bridge (at least twice) and through a few of the parks.   Prior to that day I had never run a 10k race, and to be perfectly honest, I still have not run a 10k as I walked more than half the route.  That said, I am very proud that I finished the course as it was a hot and muggy day and I have not yet finished my C25K (Couch to 5k running programme for beginners)!

So, you might well ask; why did I do this then!? Well, I needed a goal to aim for otherwise I wasn’t going to stick to my beginner runners programme, so when Brighterway  put out a call for volunteers for their marathon, half and 10k spots I saw it as a great way to add some accountability without trying to overreach and attempt more than I could manage (still no plans for a full  marathon!)  I do not think that I would have considered tackling this challenge if Brighterway hadn’t offered this opportunity.  While I did not deliberately choose Brighterway, I do feel that I could not have supported a better charity – one that seeks to find the need within Southern  Health and supports our patients and staff in ways that the NHS may not be able to fund and that goes a long way to making a patients stay a better one.

How did it go?  Well, a quick train journey from Fareham to Southampton meant that parking was not an issue!  Finding the Brighterway tent in Watts Park was easy and I was promptly offered a bottle of water and a banana as well as the obligatory charity t-shirt.  A quick change of clothing and I was ready to warm up and generally get myself ready.  As 10am approached I positioned myself at the back of the pack in East Park as I  know my limits; people seemed to be quite chatty and we could hear the blare of an “encouragement” horn somewhere in the back, and we all set off – some much faster than others!  Gently jogging the first kilometre didn’t seem so bad, but as we approached Itchen Bridge quite a few people slowed down to walk up (and then run down the other side!).  Then there was a tour of Woolston where a band played and water was offered, there were many people out enjoying the day and cheering us on with some offering jelly sweets or opal fruits for a quick sugary burst of energy.

The only problem was that we had to go back over the bridge to get back to the city centre; roadside encouragement was most welcome at that point even if it is rather disconcerting to hear people call your name (all the racing bibs had our chosen names on them) and shout “well done Sam” or “keep going Sam”!  We then turned right and skirted St Mary’s stadium although the half and marathon runners got to run through the stadium, while we had to turn left after the stadium and go through the trading estate!  We then ran (or walked) north up through East Park Terrace and eventually back down London Road and into East Park where the crowd was waiting at the finish line.  And it was noisy – lots of clapping and cheering and much required encouragement to get us all over the finish line!

Reading that back, it doesn’t seem to be as long a route as it felt on the day!  I thoroughly enjoyed taking part even if I can admit that I didn’t quite have the stamina to run all the way (next year perhaps?)  I am very grateful to all those that sponsored me and gave me yet more impetus to keep going (my current total is £422 – all of which goes to support Brighterway!)”

A huge thank you to all of our runners, if you are interested in signing up for next year’s event please email for more information.



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